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With my author hat on I attended the first East Anglian author fair at the end of July at the fabulous Coconut Loft Art Gallery on Waterloo Road. This gave locals an opportunity to ‘meet the author’  with twelve authors from across Norfolk and Suffolk, including: Helen Thwaites, Caroline Way, Hannah Precious, Ian Robb, Terry Tarbox, Pam Finch, Bronwen Grono, Jocelyn Blakey, Helen Milligan, Patricia Peters and Ann Bowyer.

All the authors~done with my camera

The centrepiece of the event were five newly published authors who had risen to a ‘get published’ challenge set by themselves during a writing workshops last November. They formed the group Waveney Author Group (WAG) and go on tour later this month.

Gina cutting my cake with the WAG authors looking on

I’m looking forward to The  2nd Annual event which will take place next July and an interim ‘meet the authors’ weekend will be held at the Coconut Loft on the 5th & 6th Dec.

Author places are selling well, with only a few places left. For more information pop along to www.getwriting.co.uk

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I know you don’t spell ‘writery’ like that but I say it so I wrote it. And it is an exciting time…

Last November I led a set of writing workshops and had the fabulous authors/tutors: Glynis Smy, Ann Bowyer, Rosy Thornton, Jayne-Marie Barker  and Jo Wilde run some sessions. 6 of the writers set themselves a challenge to write and self-publish before July 10th. I decided to join them in this challenge. We decided on the name Waveney Author Group (WAG) as we all live within the Waveney area.

Our first meeting was at The Coconut Loft Art Gallery and we were grateful for the support of The Journal newspaper who came to do an article on us and took this picture.

Group photo~24th Jan 2015

The Coconut Loft Art Gallery became our place to meet. Firstly on a monthly basis and now we meet on a weekly basis to enable the writers to achieve their goal. The Coconut Loft Art Gallery is a great place to write, an inspiring place that not only sells lovely food but also Richard and Gina, the owners, are always willing to help, whether it be to help one of the writer’s sort her blurb out or help another writer sort her page layout.

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The owners Gina and Richard watching new author Pam Finch press the button and upload her work to Create Space (and within a short space of time her book, Minho Moments, was on Amazon).

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Gina helping a writer with her formatting.

Helen and Enid~WAG Meeting Coconut Loft~11th May 2015

Helen Thwaites helping her mum with her tablet.

Helen, Helen and Enid~WAG Meeting Coconut Loft~11th May 2015

Enid and Helen Thwaites and Helen Meneghello.

Helen, Pam, Richard and Enid~WAG Meeting Coconut Loft~11th May 2015

Richard helping Pam Finch with her blurb (watched by Helen and Enid)

Pam Helen Enid and I at the coconut loft~June 2015

Helen Thwaites, Me (Suzan Collins), Enid Thwaites and Pam Finch writing in The Smugglers’ Gallery.

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Enid Thwaites, Helen Thwaites, Bronwen Grono, Pam Finch, Helen Meneghello, Me (Suzan Collins) and Jo Wilde.

All writers have either now published their books or will in the next week or so. #excitingtimes

The Waveney Author Group will be joining other authors at the pop-up bookshop at The Coconut Loft this July. For more info please go to www.getwriting.co.uk

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Welcome Ann Bowyer…

Ann Bowyer

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (including pen name if you have one)

At an early age, I was writing stories and drawing comics which I published weekly. Before I left school I knew I wanted to be a journalist. I already had the shorthand and typing skills but my parents were set against it. They considered it was an unsuitable occupation for a young lady – that was the 1960’s – oh, how things have changed! So I found myself becoming a secretary, then a Business Studies Teacher, then a freelance software trainer but, of course, motherhood came somewhere in-between all that.

What was the first story you wrote?

Probably something to do with horses – I was horse mad, as many girls are today, though riding them was not on the agenda until we moved further out of London and even then, I had to save up all my pennies as my parents couldn’t afford to pay for lessons.

However, my first novel was completed at 15 and the plot was around – you’ve guessed – horses!

Were you inspired by someone or something?

Very much so, I loved to read about show jumping and gymkhanas and was lucky enough to go to the Horse of Year Show for several years running with my best friend. I read every horsey book and magazine I could lay my hands on and my favourite author was Ruby Ferguson who wrote the Jill books. When I grew more mature I was inspired by Jane Austin, of course, and whenever I am ill, Pride and Prejudice is a comfort read and I’ve always been a Maeve Binchy fan.

What do you like about writing a story?

Plots and research are possibly the things I enjoy most. Creating an interesting plot and seeing characters react has always fascinated me because my characters always surprise me as they go off and do their own thing. But, since I set my novels in the past, research is my favourite occupation and sometimes I have to drag myself away from fascinating avenues of enquiry or the book would never get written.

Can you tell us about your newest book?

My latest book is ‘Lost in a Homeland’ and is a sequel to my first published book ‘A Token of Love – a family saga. Both are fiction but the first book is largely based on my grandparents lives.

Ann Bowyer~Lost in a Homeland

How did you come up with the story?

It was the book I never intended to write! There is a third book which is half written and I had every intention of moving to the next generation in this saga but, following numerous requests, I capitulated and wrote ‘Lost in a Homeland’ in order to fulfil my readers’ desires to know what happened when the family left Canada.

What genre best fits for the book?

Historical, women’s contemporary fiction, romance

Are you working on something new at the moment?

As already mentioned, there is a third book in this series and I have every intention of finishing this as well as, possibly a fourth but I also have several ideas for other books.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

It’s all been said before – read and write as much and as often as you can. Don’t let anyone put you off. You can do it!

Do you in a writing group?

Over the years, I have belonged to several writing groups and found them really, really helpful, supportive and encouraging. My regular writing group folded some time ago but I have been so busy with writing and travel, I haven’t yet joined another. But I will – no one else understands a writer like a writer.

Do you have people who will critique your work? (And if you do, do you acknowledge them in the front of the book?)

Yes to both, though I don’t name them specifically.

What is your writing routine?

That is a very difficult question to answer. I share my study with my husband and, unlike many authors, I do prefer peace and quiet with no interruptions. That can sometimes be difficult but if I have a deadline, after supper is best and I try to get a couple of hours in most evenings.

Do you have an editing process?

Editing does happen a little on the way because I try to write to a place where I know I will be able to pick up the next day – that overcomes what is often called writer’s block. When I begin the next day, I go back to the beginning of the previous scene and may edit it, though most of the editing is left until the end.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

The satisfaction of reaching the end is possibly the most enjoyable part of writing but I love it all so maybe it’s the frustration of not having enough time to write.

How important is it for you to share your writing?

Very. My first novel (which I refer to as faction), as I mentioned, is based on my grandparents’ lives and I wanted to tell it because it seemed to me nobody knew of the horrendous drought conditions British people endured in the Prairies in the 1930’s. Everyone, but everyone has heard of the ‘Grapes of Wrath’ but this is a parallel story. Usually my stories are a comment on the times.

Where can people go to read your work?

My books are available through Amazon :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann+bowyer

http://www.amazon.com/Ann-Bowyer/e/B00JCP6H1U/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1435630339&sr=1-2-ent

They are Kindle published also.

Also available at Jarrolds, Norwich as well as Diss Book Publishing in Diss, Norfolk.

Where can people find you on the internet?

My website:  www.annbowyer.com

Facebook:  Ann Bowyer Author

Twitter:  AnnBowyer2

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

The research for my first book took ten years and involved travelling extensively across Canada as well as Europe. I now give talks/slides on this, which includes some of the unusual and original documents and photographs which turned up following a family tragedy. Anyone interested in a talk can contact me through my website.

My family history has always fascinated me and when I have completed my present saga, I might well turn my attention to my maternal side – my mother was born in India at the time of the Raj.

To finish, thank you, Suzan, for hosting me.

I have enjoyed it, thank you, Ann.

NB: Ann will be having a Book Release Party on Facebook tomorrow, why not hop over and join in?https://www.facebook.com/events/816556811726199/

Ann Bowyers book covers

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Peoples%20Book%20Prize%20logo

Held at The Stationers Hall. A Grade I listed building, close to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Staionary Halls front

Upon arriving we were asked to show our invites and then led up the stairs in the beautiful historic building of Stationer’s Hall. We were then shown into a large room where others were gathered and waiters were holding trays of drinks.

Before the ceremony started I met some fabulous authors-

Me and Carol Wyer                 Me and Mary

Carol Wyer                                          Mary Jordan

Ruth Killeen Literary-Agent, authors Carol Wyer and Colin kopite Chapman

Ruth Killeen Literary Agent,  authors Carol Wyer and Colin ‘kopite’ Chapman to name a few.

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 Time to go into the hall and sit at our allocated places at the tables.

Our table

Menu

Starter

Kentish Peas

Garden Pea Mousse, Cumbria Ham,

Confit Lemon, Honeydew Melon

 Main Course

Gressingham Duck

Pam Roasted Breast, Fondant Potatoes,

Cherries, Glazed Cabbage

 Vegetarian Option

Butternut Squash,

Mushroom and Spinach Pithivier

Fondant Potato, Cherries, Glazed Cabbage

 Dessert

Summer Trifle

Pimms Jelly, Lavender Custard,

Mint & Cucumber Sorbet

 Coffee & Chocolates-The Loving Cup

This ancient ceremony is based on the tradition that King Edward the Martyr was treacherously stabbed in 978AD, while drinking from a two-handed cup. Ever since, such ceremonial drinking has been accompanied with an elaborate ritual of precaution. (I will post a youtube link for you at the end of this blog).

Me 1         Window

Official photograph              Fantastic window behind the stage

Mary Jordan Georgina and Me

Mary Jordan and I with our fab editor, Georgina Bentliff

Me and Mary Jordan

Mary and I

Author Marie and her publisher John Hunt

Author Marie Yates and her publisher John Hunt

Marie and Mars

Marie and Mars

Our table 1

Our table

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Carol Wyer and Colin ‘kopite’ Chapman

Frederick Forsyth, Patron of The People’s Book Prize, was due to give a speech but was unable to attend. He wished us all a fun evening via video.
After dinner the categories were called out, non-fiction was first, followed by fiction, children’s, new author and Best Achievement Award. Authors in each category had to walk along the hall to the right side of the stage and wait to be told to walk onto the stage. Once on the stage author names and titles of their books were read out and the winner announced. All being televised live by Sky TV.

Winners:

Non-fiction-Carol Wyer

Fiction- Scott Caladon

Children- Rob Jones

Best First Time Author- Primary School Children

Best Achievement Award- Tim Wotton

After coffee and chocolates we had to perform the Loving Cup.

The Loving Cup

This ancient ceremony is based on the tradition that King Edward the Martyr was treacherously stabbed in 978AD, while drinking from a two-handed cup. Ever since, such ceremonial drinking has been accompanied with an elaborate ritual of precaution.

Difficult to describe, please watch this youtube clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA64dnIPnOo

Thank you

I would like to thank everyone who voted for my book, ‘Beyond My Control: Why the Health and Social Care System Need Not Have Failed My Mother’. It was a FINALIST in the non-fiction category and a lovely surprise on the night was to be SHORTLISTED for Best Achievement Award. I couldn’t have wished for more. I had been on the stage twice and each time in my head I raised a toast to my late mum, to my sister and brother, and to all of the lovely people who voted for me. Thank you.

I have received a lot of feedback from readers who have bought the book and they said how much it has helped them. I also know some people have bought the book for their relative in care or in hospital and have put it on their bedside cabinet. The book does talk about poor practices but it also talks about some great staff with very strong values and good practices.

There are a lot of fantastic staff out there and we need to praise them for the things they do well. Unfortunately there are some who do not do their job well and they need to be told. After all, if they’re not told, how can they improve?

 Cover BMC~FINAL COVER

If you would to purchase a signed copy of ‘Beyond My Control: Why the Health and Social Care System Need Not Have Failed My Mother’ please go to www.suzancollins.com

               

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Love the official photograph from People’s Book Prize where Beyond My Control made it to the final! Thank you to everyone who voted x

Me~used snipping tool

I will write a longer blog, with lots of photos, later x

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Welcome Julie Ryan… *offers Julie cup of tea*

Tea and scone

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Julie Ryan

I was born near Barnsley in Yorkshire where I lived for the first eighteen years of my life before going to University. It was then that the wanderlust kicked in as when I finished my Teacher Training, I went off to work in Greece, Thailand and Poland. I have no idea where this desire to travel comes from as my parents didn’t even have a passport for a long time. Moving house and/or country twenty times in twenty years can be a bit wearing though so I’ve been happily living in the Gloucestershire countryside with my husband and young son for the last few years. We bought a semi-derelict property as that was all we could afford and w are still renovating. I dream of one day having all my books neatly arranged on shelves instead of boxes and can’t wait to unpack my new desk. I have a feeling I may have to wait some time though! When not writing, I work as a distance language tutor teaching English to French companies. I also enjoy amateur dramatic and can often be found treading the boards as the Fairy Godmother in the local panto or more recently as Miss Maple in an Agatha Christie pastiche.

What was the first story you wrote?

Oh my goodness, that’s going back a while as I seem to recall I was always scribbling something as a child. I think it was probably a little play that I wrote for myself and my friend to enact for her parents. I seem to recall we played husband and wife for some reason.

Were you inspired by someone or something?

Probably the neighbours but I really have no idea how I ended up playing a grumpy henpecked husband!

What do you like about writing a story?

I love the fact that when I begin, I really don’t have any idea of where the story is going to take me. I love it when characters develop a life of their own and wake you up in the early hours to insist you change their story. Sometimes they say or do things that surprise me. In one case a character mentioned her brother and yet I wasn’t aware that she had one. It meant a lot of backwriting but it added to the plot. I can’t sit down and plan out each chapter. I have a general idea of where it’s going and let the characters fight it out1

Can you tell us about your newest book?

My latest book is the third in the Greek Island mystery series but you don’t need to have read the others. It’s about a young girl who has a gift for seeing into the future centered around a group of holidaymakers staying at the same hotel. There’s a serial killer on the island so lots of drama and excitement as well as romance for some of the guests. The key to the mystery is the local thriller writer.

Julie Ryan book cover

How did you come up with the story?

I started from the idea of Pandora being able to see into the future and then the rest of the story developed from there. I read a lot and so I suppose my writing is influenced by the kind of books I like to read.

What genre best fits for the book?

I’ve been wondering about this. There’s romance but it’s not chick-lit. There’s suspense and mystery but it’s not a thriller. Although Pandora can see into the future, it’s not really a paranormal book either. Perhaps it should just be contemporary fiction.

Are you working on something new at the moment?

It depends on what my characters decide to do next. I have an unfinished Christmas novella that I really need to work on but it’s been put on the back shelf for a long time. I’m also working on a collection of short stories too. I only ever intended my first book to be a short story and look how it’s developed. I have the germs of an idea for a fourth book in the series but it needs to simmer for a while.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

It sounds trite to say ‘Just write’ but that’s the best advice I was given. Sometimes, you can be afraid to put pen to paper in case it turns out to be rubbish but some of my best ideas have come from stories that I originally discarded. At least if you have something written down, it can be edited or may provide future inspiration. Other than that – never give up!

Do you belong to a writing group?

I set up a book club with the lovely Linn B Halton and we sometimes read our work to each other. It’s not really a writing group though.

Do you have people who will critique your work? (And if you do, do you acknowledge them in the book?)

I have a group of people who will act as beta readers and critique my work. I like to acknowledge them in a paragraph at the end of the book.

What is your writing routine?

My free time when husband is at work and son is at school is usually in the morning. After dropping son off at the bus stop, I look forward to my morning coffee and usually reread what I wrote the day before. Then I may need to do some research – a good excuse for trawling the internet and looking at cats – and on a good day I may actually write 1000-1500 words. If I’m on a roll I usually find that my coffee has gone cold so I stop and make another and try to write until lunchtime. Then it’s onto the day job until the next day.

Do you have an editing process?

After finishing the first draft I usually leave it for a couple of weeks and then go through it for the storyline first of all to check on the timeline and any inconsistencies. This may involve moving paragraphs or chapters around which then means another read through to check that this change hasn’t affected anything else. Then it’s onto grammar and spelling and trying to find all those typos that are obvious to everyone else but slip through the net when it’s your own work you’re reading. Then I’ll send it out to my beta readers and make any necessary changes before giving it a final read through line by line.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

Editing is the thing I hate most – the finished article is what I like best.

How important is it for you to share your writing?

Feedback is always useful especially if it’s constructive so I know the benefits of sharing. I’m quite shy about my work though so it doesn’t come naturally to me.

Where can people go to read your work?

At the moment I’m only published on Amazon but my first book ‘Jenna’s Journey’ has recently been signed by Booktrope so it should be more widely available very soon.

Where can people find you on the internet?

I love people to get in touch about my books. I have a blog at www.Juliesworldofbooks.blogspot.co.uk where you can get all the latest news and an insight into the life of a writer/reader.

I also blog about other writer’s books at www.allthingsbookie.com

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

You might like to take a look at this awesome trailer for my second book ‘Sophia’s Secret’

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Writing a blurb

A good blurb can be the selling point of your book. The cover can attract a potential reader to pick it up and look at it. But what happens next? Yep, they turn to the back cover and read the blurb.

Look at the blurb of some of the books you have bought. What made you want to read them?

A few pointers:

Introduce the main character

Create intrigue around the main character

Explain the setting and action

What will the problems be?

How will the problems be overcome?

Keep it short (2-3 paragraphs)

Do not give the ending away!

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